The Colts are 3-8, with wins against the winless Browns, the 2-10 49ers, and the Watson-less Texans. Other than that, the Colts have been blown out by superior opponents like the Rams, Jaguars (twice) and Seahawks, and also barely beaten, most of the time by 4th quarter comebacks by mediocre teams like the Cardinals or the Bengals.
The bright side for the Colts is that they are slated to get a top 5 pick in next years draft. Also, they will most likely be the team with most cap space to spend in Free Agency to address what is one of the NFL’s worst rosters overall.
Let’s start with the offense, which at plain sight might not seem that awful. Sure it is nowhere near elite or even top 10 status, but there are some pieces. Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y Hilton, future HOFer Frank Gore, star left tackle Anthony Castonzo, reliable tight end Jack Doyle and another good but not great bunch of players make it up. The quarterback situation is complicated, but not in a bad way. Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck is on IR, and filling in is more than adequate Jacoby Brissett, who is young and has the tools to develop into a really solid starting quarterback. Then why is the offense struggling so much to move the ball and score touchdowns?
Well, the main culprit may be the offensive line. Other than Castonzo, no one is playing even mediocre football. Starters Ryan Kelly and Jack Mewhort are dealing or have dealt with injuries; the lack of depth was really exposed. Everyone expected the offensive line to be bad, not just this level of bad: most sacks and pressures allowed in the league. Let that sink in, the Colts offensive line is the absolute worst in pass blocking in the entire NFL. Luck is going to get massacred if this issue is not fixed before he returns.
As for the defense, Ballard made it the main focus of the offseason to improve it. Picking three defensive players with the first three picks of the draft, and signing players like Hankins, Sheard and Simon. The defense has improved a tiny bit but the lack of depth is clearly notable. After starters Rashaan Melvin and Vontae Davis (now released) went down with injuries, the Colts were forced to start players such as Kenny Moore III or Pierre Desir, which are practice squad level players. Quincy Wilson is also a weird case worth looking into, as he has received little to no playing time after being selected with a second round pick. The lack of pass rushers on the roster also makes the secondary look even worse, as it is known that the best way to mask poor secondary play is applying pressure on the quarterback.
The Colts roster definitely has some talent on it. It is certainly far away from being elite, but the pieces are somewhat there. There is some sort of talent, perhaps not enough for the playoffs but certainly enough for a .500 record. So, the problem for the Colts is not only the talent on the roster, but, most importantly, the people running it.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to tweet me at @mateocaliz for any further Colts discussion and, as always, Go Colts!